The Chicago Bulls are looking to move past last season’s dismal offensive performance and start anew by way of this year’s NBA Draft.
Chicago holds three draft picks, 16th, 19th, and 49th overall. These picks are vital to bringing back the fire that is the Bulls offense when Derrick Rose finally returns. If history has taught the Bulls one lesson, it’s this: find a reliable backup for Rose.
Chicago is keeping their fingers crossed that this is the year Rose is finally healthy all season, but the front office needs to be realistic. No one can truly take the place of NBA’s 2011 MVP, but there must be someone whom the team can fall back on and can be a threat every game. In order for that to happen, Chicago needs to use its 16th pick wisely.
That means using their 16th pick on Rodney Hood, a small forward from Duke. Hood is the shot-making forward Chicago has been lacking since Rose’s injury. The Mississippi native’s stats speak for themselves: 16 PPG, 46.4 FG% and 80.7 FT% in the 2013-2014 season.
At 6-foot-8.5 and 208 pounds, according to SB Nation, Hood stands out as the perfect fit for Chicago. He is the offensive wing that the Bulls need to refresh the unproductive Dunleavy-Butler-Snell trio. And with his dominating size, he can satisfy head coach Tom Thibodeau’s demand for strong, effective defensive production from his players.
With big man Carlos Boozer most likely leaving Chicago, the Bulls need to fill those shoes as well. Although not to the extent of Rose, Boozer nevertheless produced for the Bulls and Chicago needs to be prepared to keep those numbers on the board.
With the 19th pick, Chicago should choose Bosnian center Jusuf Nurkic. At only 19 years old, Nurkic stands at 6-foot-11 and 280 pounds, per Bleacher Report. Although large, the big man is surprisingly agile. One of Nurkic’s most appealing strengths is his low post scoring. His large frame allows him to get through defenses for clear shots.
Nurkic’s defensive play needs to improve, but being surrounded by Defensive Player of the Year Joakim Noah and company, Nurkic’s natural abilities should kick in. Unfortunately, Nurkic is only 19. He is bound to make mistakes and not understand the game as well as some of the seasoned pros.
But fortunately, Nurkic is only 19: his talents are malleable and, under Thibodeau’s guidance, he should improve each season. With basketball idols as teammates, Nurkic should have no problem with motivation.
Finally, Chicago should choose Jahii Carson for their 49th pick. Though only 5-foot-10, Carson can get the job done as a point guard, just as Nate Robinson and D.J. Augustin have in the past two seasons. Carson is quick and gets points on the board, averaging 18.6 PPG in the 2013-2014 season, according to Bleacher Report.